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torah commentary
Seeing the big picture need not require standing on the vista
Parshat Pinchas Numbers 25:10-30:1 In this week’s Torah portion, God commands Moses to ascend the hills from the other side of the Jordan River and look into the land of Israel. God reminds him tha...
Jul 10, 2014 | 0 0 comments | 1 1 recommendations | email to a friend
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Routine decisions can point us in the right direction
Parshat Balak Numbers 22:2-25:9 In this week’s Torah reading, King Balak of Moab retains the sorcerer Balaam to curse the Jewish people. Instead of curses, only blessings come out of his mouth. Whe...
Jul 03, 2014 | 0 0 comments | 2 2 recommendations | email to a friend
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In each generation ...
Parshat Chukat Numbers 19:1-22:1 One of the major events related in Parshat Chukat is the death of Miriam, the older sister of Moses and Aaron. Immediately after this, we read that the Israelites w...
Jun 26, 2014 | 0 0 comments | 1 1 recommendations | email to a friend
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How can things go wrong? Let me count the ways
German is the most frustrating language. I’ve done Russian, French and Hebrew. I’ve learned new alphabets, switched from left to right. But nothing beats a complex German sentence to make a new stu...
Jun 12, 2014 | 0 0 comments | 2 2 recommendations | email to a friend
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Jerusalem the Holy
R Bamidbar The capital cities of every nation on earth are built on major trade routes or rivers.   They became capitals because they were centers of commerce and easily accessible. Jerusalem is th...
May 21, 2014 | 0 0 comments | 3 3 recommendations | email to a friend
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Something’s terribly wrong when a leaf is frightening
Parshat Bechukotai Leviticus 26:3-27:34 Bechukotai — literally “My law” — is the last parshah in Leviticus, functioning as an epilogue to the entire book. Through Moses, the Lord gives the people o...
May 15, 2014 | 0 0 comments | 3 3 recommendations | email to a friend
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Archives
Little things mean a lot
Ekev, Deuteronomy 7:12-11:25
by Rabbi Eli Seidman
Jewish Association on Aging
Aug 18, 2011 | 0 0 comments | 23 23 recommendations | email to a friend
“Blow me a kiss from across the room Say I look nice when I’m not Touch my hair as you pass my chair Little things mean a lot…” “Little Things Mean a Lot” was a popular song, recorded by Kitty Kall...
Practice loving God
Vaetchanan, Deuteronomy 3:23-7:11
by Rabbi Jessica Locketz
Temple Emanuel of South Hills
Aug 11, 2011 | 0 0 comments | 17 17 recommendations | email to a friend
In this week’s Torah portion, Vaetchanan, Moses is in the midst of giving his final words of instruction to the Children of Israel before his death. In an effort to ensure loyalty of the people of ...
Believing in God regardless of proof
Devarim, Deuteronomy 1:1-3:22
by Rabbi Scott Aaron
Agency for Jewish Learning
Aug 03, 2011 | 1 1 comments | 19 19 recommendations | email to a friend
This week, we begin studying the fifth book of the Torah, Devarim, which is also the name of this week’s portion. It was the custom of our ancestors to name books and Torah portions after the first...
Pollution
Masei, Numbers 33:1-36:13
by Rabbi Paul Tuchman>br>Temple B’nai Israel
White Oak
Jul 28, 2011 | 0 0 comments | 11 11 recommendations | email to a friend
“Do not pollute the land on which you live.” Numbers 35:33 I wish I could say that these words were an ancient harbinger of our environmental concerns, an admonition against pollution. In fact, the...
Vows make a difference, as tradition teaches
Mattot, Numbers 30:2–32:42
by Cantor Richard Berlin
Parkway Jewish Center
Jul 21, 2011 | 0 0 comments | 17 17 recommendations | email to a friend
“If a man makes a vow to the Lord or takes an oath imposing an obligation upon himself he shall not break his pledge; he must carry out all that has crossed his lips.” — Numbers 30:2 “If a woman ma...
Change is inevitable — and appropriate
Pinchas, Numbers 25:10-30:1
by Rabbi Aaron Bisno
Rodef Shalom Congregation
Jul 14, 2011 | 0 0 comments | 16 16 recommendations | email to a friend
Amidst the many disparate matters discussed in Parashat Pinchas, we read of Moses being informed by God that he will die before being permitted to enter the Promised Land. We then hear Moses ask Go...
Faith vs. fear, foe vs. faux
Balak, Numbers 22:2-25:9
by Rabbi Mark Joel Mahler
Temple Emanuel of South Hills
Jul 06, 2011 | 0 0 comments | 16 16 recommendations | email to a friend
Fateful and fraught is the number 40 in the Torah. Forty days of rain in the flood story, 40 days for Moses on Mt. Sinai, and 40 years wandering from Egypt to the Promised Land prove the power of t...
The irony of healing
Chukkat, Numbers 19:1-22:1
by Rabbi David C. Novitsky
Beth Israel Congregation, Washington
Jun 30, 2011 | 0 0 comments | 19 19 recommendations | email to a friend
At one time, there was a red heifer in Washington County, or so several individuals have told me. The Torah portion of this week discusses the red heifer. What exactly is a red heifer? The Bible in...
Location matters in disputes
Temple David Korach, Numbers 16:1-18:32
by Rabbi Barbara Symons
Temple David
Jun 24, 2011 | 0 0 comments | 19 19 recommendations | email to a friend
What is the proper arena for dispute? If you are a Food Network groupie, then you are familiar with the show “Throwdown with Bobby Flay.” In the territory of a chef’s kitchen, he cooks his own vers...
Temper mercy with anger when the kvetching starts
Shelach, Numbers 13:1-15:41
by Rabbi Beth Jacowitz Chottiner
Temple Shalom, Wheeling, W.Va.
Jun 16, 2011 | 0 0 comments | 21 21 recommendations | email to a friend
Kvetching is a great Yiddish word. It’s robust and full of flavor. And it’s something we find plenty of in this week’s Torah portion, Shelach. Twelve scouts are sent by G-d to the land of Canaan to...